John M. Cooper has prepared written materials on the topic of powerful medical evidence presentation at trial to be used at a seminar for other lawyers in Norfolk, VA on October 26, 2006. I will also present live at the class to teach other lawyers about use of medical evidence as a continuing legal education class offered through National Business Institute.
After 18 years of practicing personal injury law, I feel I have something to share with others about how to properly put together a case from the plaintiff’s side. Some of the topics that I address in the seminar include how to work with your expert doctors to develop and disclose key opinions necessary to win a personal injury case. These key opinions include proving that the injuries were caused by the accident in question and showing the future medical expenses of a permanent injury. Working directly with the doctor, and talking about the personal injury case, are critical. Without this consultation, the doctor will not be properly prepared for trial and the case could become a mess. Although it costs money, often $500.00 an hour to speak with an orthopaedic doctor about a case, this is money that has to be spent on the client’s behalf in order to know what the doctor is willing to say at trial. Under the rules of court, if you do not disclose the doctor’s expert medical opinions by certain deadlines, your doctor will be prevented from testifying about them. It always amazes me how appreciative doctors are if a lawyer takes the time to educate them about the legal issues, so that they can help their patient. Often, this preparation is the difference between winning by getting a fair settlement before trial.
Another main topic of the seminar will be the use of medical demonstrative aids, such as diagnostic images. The effective use of technology such as computers and Powerpoint presentations is a big issue for today’s lawyers. Juries in a personal injury case expect a multi-media high tech show. Although you do not want to overuse technology, it certainly helps to have some high impact images presenting medical evidence. One of the keys is to having a good group of experts who can help you put on your visual aids and make medical illustrations and exhibits for you. Knowing how to get your point across to the jury visually, as well as through words, is important to success in today’s courtroom.